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tv   Senator Lindsey Graham on Special Counsel for Russia Investigation  CSPAN  May 19, 2017 10:00am-10:06am EDT

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>> i didn't hear anything classified but the bottom line, general consensus, it was a good decision to pick a special counsel. a lot of confidence in mr. mueller. i think the shock to the body is, it's now considered a criminal investigation and congress' ability to conduct investigations of all things russia has been severely limited probably in an appropriate fashion. senator graham: so i think a lot of members want the special counsel to be appointed but don't understand that you're pretty well knocked out of the game. and that's probably the way it should be. it was a counterintelligence investigation before now. it seems to me now to be considered a criminal investigation and what does that mean for the congress? i find it hard to subpoena
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records from somebody like mr. flynn who may be subject to a investigation because he has the right to not -- and mr. comey coming before the committee, if i were mr. mueller, i would jealously guard the witness pool. so one of the big losers in this decision is the public. we had a really good hearing with yates and clapper where the public could hear what happened with ms. yates and mr. clapper. i think that opportunity has been lost maybe for the greater good but there are a lot of people in that room who are shocked that when a special counsel has been appointed that congress has limitations on what we can do. so i've always believed that a counterintelligence investigation did not need a special prosecutor or counsel. criminal investigation might. the deputy attorney general decided to appoint a special counsel and one of the results of that, the ability of congress to call people who may
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be witnessed in an investigation conducted by mr. mueller is going to severely restrict what we can do. reporter: can they confirm it's now a criminal investigation? senator graham: i never got to ask my question specifically about that. but the takeaway i have is that everything he said was that you need to treat this investigation as if it may be a criminal investigation. so i think the biggest legal change seems to be that mr. mueller is going to proceed forward with the idea of a criminal investigation versus the counterintelligence investigation. there was no facts laid out as to why you would change that but appointing a special ounsel has created, i think, a dynamic for congress, is going to have to be very leery in crossing mr. mueller's lane because of a possibility of a criminal investigation. reporter: [inaudible] the memos that were requested yesterday? senator graham: i think mr. mueller will tell us what we can get and what we can't. reporter: the upshot is that
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your investigation will be put on the back burner? you may not know but joe lieberman was top contender as f.b.i. director. what's your reaction to that? senator graham: well, one of the winners is a new f.b.i. director because they don't have to deal with that. i think joe lieberman is a pillar of credibility. i think he would be a good choice. now you have a special counsel, the new f.b.i. director doesn't have to riding herd over the investigation that appointed him. [inaudible] reporter: the president just said that having a special counsel hurts our country terribly. senator graham: well, he's entitled to his opinion. i would suggest to the president that one has been apointed, honor that decision, cooperate where it's appropriate. fight back when you have legal ability to do so. i've been through this once before with the clinton administration. clinton hired an individual lawyer to deal with all things related to ken starr so the white house could conduct this business. if i were the president i'd focus on defending the nation
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and trying to get his legislative agenda through the congress. one of the side benefits of this is now congress has been pretty much sidelined, not completely but pretty much and we can go back to dealing with legislative matters that affect the american people. so the bottom line here is the president may not have liked this decision that was made. i had questions about it. i honor it. you couldn't have picked a better man to do the job, and i think most people in that meeting are generally ok with the idea of a special counsel but what they don't quite understand is this decision has limited what congress can do. i find it hard. i would be reluctant to subpoena someone or a document in their possession if i truly believe they may be subject to a criminal investigation. that's not fair to them. reporter: explanation from rosenstein why comey was fired? senator graham: i think mr. rosenstein viewed the whole process as something mr. mueller will speak on, not him. reporter: what did you think
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about the explanation? reporter: the answer you received about the firing of former f.b.i. director comey? senator graham: mr. rosenstein said why he wrote the memo. he believed what the f.b.i. director did in july was inappropriate. he stepped out of lane. reporter: senator, was he tasked to write that memo? senator graham: he did not -- i'll let you ask him that question. now that we have a special counsel about all things related to the process of the memo, i think you'll need to talk to mr. mueller about. i need to go. reporter: ok. thank you very much, senator. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> deputy attorney general declined to give details concerning comey's dismissal because he is anxious to give wide latitude to robert mueller to make a determination as to where his investigation should go and what it should include. senator mccaskill: as a former prosecutor i respect that decision. he did acknowledge that comey would be removedor


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